15-minute appointments fly past so it’s important to make the best of your time. Since we can’t slow time down, it’s important to prepare.
Publishers and agents are looking for individuals who can be concise. Sitting across the table from these folks offers writers the opportunity to pitch their work, develop a relationship, and to network – all of which, increase your opportunity at publication. Don’t misunderstand. Increase and promise of publication are two different things. If a publisher requests your proposal, it’s not a promise to publish, it is merely an opportunity to look at the work. An opportunity a writer may not otherwise attain.
The wonderful advantage of attending a conference is this “free-card” to meet face-to-face with industry professionals. The publishing market has tightened to the point of strangulation. Publishers are overworked and understaffed. Money is tight for new titles, so to meet with them at a conference is an amazing opportunity.
During these meetings publishers (and agents) may extend an open-door opportunity for writers to submit their work directly to them during a specific time frame. Does this increase your opportunity at publication? Some. If you submit the work.
Make the most of your 15 minutes. Come prepared and have with you:
*a business card
* paper and pen
*any questions you’d like to ask
*Be ready to present your pitch (if you have work to pitch)
When you sit across from a publishing professional don’t find yourself upside down digging in your briefcase for these things. For lack of better words, when your backside hits that chair, the items listed above should already be in your hand. If you bring your brief case or bag, set it beneath the table and be confident that you have what you need in your hand. Don’t waste time digging like a dog at a fence. Remember, that clock starts ticking as soon as you sit down.
Follow these steps for your 15-minute appointment:
*Be courteous about the 15 minutes. When your time is over, it’s time to leave.
*Have your business card and one-sheet ready
*Introduce yourself, shake hands. Handshakes say a lot about a person. Have a firm handshake, not a fishy one.
*Don’t babble. Professionals want to know a tid-bit about you. Not a life history.
*Know your work and present it with confidence. Use your one-sheet as your pitch guide so you don’t forget what you want to say the be confident in your pitch. If you aren’t excited and confident about your work, why should the professional across the table be.
*Be gracious if a professional offers you constructive criticism. Don’t be offended. You’re getting free, professional advice from folks who know the business. Their goal is to help you, not hurt you.
*Don’t push your work on the professional. If the publisher or agent wants your work, they will ask. Sometimes the opportunity to “not ask” is a gentle way to say no without hurting your feelings. So, don’t ask them if you can send them your proposal. If they are interested, they will ask.
Remember, the 15-minute appointment is a prime opportunity to network. Authors may pick up free-lance work and special projects from publishers due to a 15-minute appointment. Publishers meet you, see your abilities and remember when a special project opens. You may be the someone who might fill the bill. These appointments are more than just pitching one piece of your work. You’re pitching you and your abilities. You are a whole package, not just one project. Keep that in mind as you meet with publishing professionals.
Research the editors, publishers and agents at the conference and pick the ones who represent the genre you write and prepare your pitch accordingly. Make your one-sheet, make or purchase
business cards. They don’t have to be fancy. But make a business card on your computer so professionals can make notes on the back and remember you.
Make the best of your 15-minute appointment.
Information needed for a one-sheet:
*Title, genre, word count, completion date
*1-3 solid paragraphs that summarizes your book (think back of the book text)
*A short bio and your photo, agent information or your contact information.
Photos courtesy of Microsoft free gallary and Pixabay.com
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